Brad Daugherty’s basketball career might have ended prematurely, but his involvement in sports continues. He was able to venture into other sports outside the NBA. Currently, he’s an owner of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) JTG Daugherty Racing. In 2023, Brad became the first black principal owner to win a race in the Daytona 500. How did he make the switch from basketball to car racing?
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Brad Daugherty’s Basketball Career
Brad began his career in school. He played for his high school team and helped them to win the Championships. Besides, he joined the University of North Carolina and was one of its best players.
He made it into the All-Atlantic Coast Conference (All-ACC) team twice and was named to its team during the 50th anniversary. The basketballer was so good that he was enlisted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
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Joining the National Basketball Association (NBA)
In 1986, Daugherty was drafted into the NBA by the Cleveland Cavaliers as a first overall pick. He played for the team for ten years, between 1986 and 1996. During that period, Brad Daugherty became the team’s all-time scorer with 10,389 points.
In 1992, he came close to winning the NBA Championship after he helped the team get to the Eastern Conference finals. Unfortunately, the center had back pain problems that forced him to retire at 28. Brad made it into the NBA All-Star five times and was also in the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
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Life After Basketball
Unlike many professional athletes who struggle after retirement, Brad Daugherty found his footing. He joined sports media and is a basketball analyst. He also appears on NBC to talk about NASCAR. Away from the cameras, he’s involved in a couple of charitable activities.
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Getting into NASCAR
Growing up, Brad had a passion for racing. He lived near the one-third-mile New Asheville Speedway where Robert Pressley drove. Pressley drove late car models, and the former basketballer worked on them. His father and uncle were racers. Even though he pursued professional basketball, his love for racing never faded.
He started in the late 90s by joining the Craftsman Truck Series and was asked to join the competition committee. He agreed to sit on the committee because he saw it as a chance to open doors for minorities. To that effect, Brad Daugherty Co-founded a diversity committee.
His work around the NASCAR industry grew. In 2007, Brad began working with ESPN as a NASCAR broadcaster. He was on the Inside NASCAR on Showtime and NASCAR Now. Brad Daugherty became a co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, making him the first African-American to own a team.
In 2015, the team got its first pole, months after it got its first win. In 2023, Brad Daugherty became the first black principal owner to win the Daytona 500 series.
When asked whether there are issues with him being heavily involved in the sport as a black man, he acknowledged that bias and racial differences will always be there. However, he adds that he’s met some of the best people on the racetrack.
As for winning the race, Brad Daughterty described it as “one of the most monumental accomplishments he’s achieved.”
Brad Daugherty is a pioneer for black people in NASCAR. He’s working at the sport’s highest level, and winning the Daytona Series Cup proves that people of color are just as good in the sport.
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